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Michael Jerling

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Long Black Wall

c1982 by Michael Jerling

From the album Early Jerling



A Green Beret came to talk to us
Gave a slide show in the gym
Told about the Communists and the punji sticks
I thought I'd like to be like him
Long black wall
And nothing is undone
Long black wall
Sleeping in the sun

Chicago summer, 1968
Some high school kids out on a lark
Waved to the cameras on the evening news
And got teargassed in Grant Park
Long  black wall
And nothing is the same
Long black wall
Shining in the rain

Everyone in college was against the war
We had long hair and Nixon stunk
Draft number high, draft number low
Stayed out all night and got real drunk

The vets came back on the G.I. Bill
In their field jackets and jeans
Drank black coffee and smoked cigarettes
And never spoke of what they'd seen
Long black wall
And nothing left to say
Long black wall
So many miles away

The man on TV said ten years had gone
Today a monument was raised
And when they wrote each name one art a time
The roll of dead took four whole days
Long black wall
And nothing is the same
Long black wall 
Shining in the rain
Long black wall
And nothing is undone
Long black wall
Sleeping in the sun

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